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Simon’s Travel Diary

Wednesday, 16 Apr 2008

Location: Goleta, California, USA

MapAnother sunny day (it’s 73 and clear, thanks), yet another sandy beach (Goleta Beach Country Park) and another lovely eatery (the Beachside Bar-Café). Sigh...a living hell...!

I could just make out Santa Cruz island across the perfectly calm ocean surface and, after being fooled yet again by a splash of water (courtesy of a snorkeler...) I spent the morning pottering along the sand, sitting down to read me book and whale-watching (not that I saw any).

The Beachside Bar-Café is exactly how I imagined such establishments to be. Open to the elements, albeit under a roof of sorts, they serve all manner of seafood that all looked quite incredible; after an interminable process I settled on a grilled steak of mahi-mahi, which was yummy yummy! As is often the case, the guy sat next to me had a huge bread roll filled will clam chowder, making me wish I’d ordered that. At least the choice is made for next time!

Everyone is so nice – and not cloyingly so either - and my requests for “So what’s good here?” after twice reading through the long menu were met by my ‘server’ with a genuine desire to help, rather than an old-fashioned look of barely suppressed irritation such a question would engender at home.

Best of all (t’wife rolls her eyes, no doubt...!), the beach is linked to the local network of cycle paths, which meant I could walk there and – woohoo! – have a few glasses of icy Fosters throughout the day. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not p*ss-weak (well, not more so than usual) and was the perfect compliment to the warm sun.

"You ready for another beer there, sir?" Know what? I surely am!